Where it all went down: the kitchen in Marathon, FL.
My brother Clay is a rockstar in the kitchen, and over Christmas the whole family enjoyed the fruit of his labors. This the the best gazpacho I have ever had (I think I've had one, maybe two others, so my opinion is not very carefully researched, but still). It's from the Williams-Sonoma website, which has wonderful recipes for free!
Nota Bene: don't be a fool and seed the jalapeño with your thumb, it will burn indescribably for the rest of the day. Use a spoon, that's what they're there for. Also- don't go without the jicama. It's weird, but totally makes the dish.
Tomatillos stand in for the ripe red tomatoes that are the usual base for this cold summer soup from Spain. Toasted walnuts take the place of the bread that thickens the soup. Green tomatoes make an interesting substitute for the tomatillos. For a sweet flavor boost, roast 6 to 8 peeled garlic cloves along with the tomatillos and puree them with the other ingredients.
1 lb. tomatillos, husks removed
1 yellow onion, sliced
2 jalapeño chilies, halved and seeded
1/4 cup walnuts
1 green bell pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 English (hothouse) cucumber, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves
2 Tbs. olive oil
Juice of 1 lime
1 Tbs. minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Cayenne pepper, to taste
1 jicama, peeled and diced
Preheat an oven to 375°F. Lightly oil a baking sheet.
Place the tomatillos, onion slices and jalapeños on the prepared baking sheet. Roast until lightly browned and softened, 18 to 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.
Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F. Spread the walnuts on another ungreased baking sheet and toast until fragrant and just beginning to brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.
Place the cooled vegetables and nuts in a blender or food processor along with the bell pepper, cucumber, garlic, olive oil, lime juice and parsley. Process until smooth. Transfer to a nonaluminum bowl and season with salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper. Cover and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours.
Ladle into chilled bowls and garnish each serving with a spoonful of diced jicama. Serve immediately. Serves 6.